Friday, August 22, 2014

An old arrow...

I was sitting down to write something this morning and I noticed that someone had reached back into my archives and was taking a gander at this old post from 2009. I was writing much better back then, and about much more interesting topics. So I thought I would re-post this quote from James Bryan Smith's great (great) book, "Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven." At the time I was lamenting my need to re-read it. I still do. It was such an impactful book for me. Anyway, this is the quote I posted from it.

From p. 2...

It was more than a picture. It was the summation of a person's life, a symbol that said more about who he was than mere words can. Rich Mullins was a man who stood among the ruins - the ruins created by his own faults and failings, the ruins that result from the ravages of time. In the midst of the ruins he pointed to heaven, to the God who bundles our brokenness and heals our wounds. He felt the winds of heaven as he stood upon the stuff of earth and pointed, through his words and his music, to something larger than even our own dreams. Rich Mullins was an arrow pointing to heaven.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday

Nothin much to say today. It rained off and on. Still supposed to storm yet again tonight.

I went to put the garbage out by the curb - because they pick it up early Friday morning - and when I opened the can it didn't have anything in it. I found a few sticks in the yard so I put them in and wheeled it out to the street.

Pretty exciting, I know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pain...

Travis Reed posted the following quote by Walter Brueggemann on his Facebook status last night. I remember seeing Brueggemann speak in person once. He was giving a lecture at the seminary I was attending. He said "son-of-a-bitch" or some such harmless word, and a bunch of people got up and walked out. I didn't really even notice that he said it, I was pretty into what he was talking about. I thought it was amazing.

Anyway, I don't know that I have any real thoughts on this quote at the moment.... but it struck a chord, and I wanted to save it. It's from an interview Travis did with Walter.

From my time with Walter yesterday...He says, "I think the conversation needs to always begin with pain. What pain have you got? And where does the pain come from? And if the person is innocent enough to say I don’t have any pain, then the question is, who do you know that has pain? Or do you think your actions and investments are causing any pain for anyone? I think there is a huge bias in the Bible about taking pain as the primary language of human possibility. We always want to juxtapose joy and pain in the gospel, or in my church tradition we speak of the cost and joy of discipleship. But I think that pain is always privileged in the gospels. So you know the exodus story begins with They groaned and cried out under their pain in Egypt and that led to the whole business. And Jesus encounters it seems to me are largely with people in pain or with the people who are causing the pain...need actual engagement with those who bear the pain of society.. . . the good nuns . . . they kind of move back and forth between places of pain and the Eucharistic table, back and forth. I think that is the story."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rhythm, heroin, jesus, and things

I have no idea how to title this. I was originally going to write this morning about getting up late. I usually set my alarm clock for 6 am (even though I don't leave for work until around 9). This morning I woke up at 7. I don't know if I forgot to set the alarm, or if it went off so many times I finally just turned it off. At any rate, I decided that I was not going to rush myself. I still went about my usual morning routine, and somehow I still ended up being able to get everything done - including a 30-minute walk. Weird how that happens sometimes.

Well, while I was walking, I remembered reading a Facebook post someone put up yesterday. I don't really even remember who, but they were quoting someone else (I don't remember who that was either). Anyway, the quote was: "Jesus is not like heroin; he's more like 3 square meals and 8 hours of sleep a day." I have no idea of the context but... I get that. I think.

It's not that Jesus can't transform us in an instant, or that miracles can't happen... But we can't sustain ourselves on a life of that sort of dramatic event. They can happen, but there also needs to be some sort of daily rhythm involved in following and living out the ways of Jesus. It's like Eugene Peterson's, "a long obedience in the same direction."

So... that's just a brief morsel of 'all that'... but it's where my mind was this morning. I am a person who needs life rhythms. And, honestly, right now I could stand to establish some new ones (or old ones). I do not need any heroin though.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Trying another church

We decided to check out another church yesterday. We've been attending the other one for about a year now, and while we really like the Sunday worship gathering... that's about all there is to it for us. We just can't seem to connect with anyone. Or else we just don't fit in.

So yesterday morning we went to C2G (Come2Go Ministries). We've been to this place a bunch for other events, but it was our first time there for a worship service. You can see the service from their Facebook page (if you watch it on the page). It is only about 10 minutes from our house.

I have to say, I was pretty nervous going in. I didn't know what to expect, and, honestly, I'm just getting tired of having to try so hard. Plus there's a little bit of fear that we're never going to fit in anywhere. I mean, who really wants an old broken-down pastor hanging around. I used to love visiting other churches, but now it's getting a bit awkward. So I was kind of glad that no one talked to us or recognized us (though Jane did see someone from work there; and Sunny Taylor leads worship).

Anyway, it was a little more "formal" than I expected. Not that it was overly formal, but I forgot that they're connected with some stripe of Lutheran Church. So they have communion every Sunday, and it was all fancily displayed. There were also quite a few people there who were dressed up (neckties and dresses). There were also plenty who were not dressed up. It was a pretty good mixture of ages and varieties of people. So in a way it made me feel a bit more comfortable. It was also not near as polished as the gatherings at Grace... and I like that. It was nice that everything wasn't "perfect."

The service starts at 10:30, and I would guess there were maybe a hundred or so people there. It was over just before 12. It was okay. They have coffee and donuts, and a pretty extended "passing the peace" segment. They also end with everyone saying the Lord's Prayer. I forgot we used to do that.

So... we'll see. I 'think' it might actually be our turn to be greeters at the other church this Sunday. Not sure if we should just go ahead and get out of that commitment, or if we should keep a foot in both doors. I don't really know what we're doing.

Ugh...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Trackless

One of my new favorite Fort Wayne bands is Trackless. We heard them Friday night at the botanical gardens. We arrived towards the end of their show and didn't really get into it. But last night we saw them at Rock the Plaza, and they are fantastic. A 'fun' 7-piece band consisting of sax, trumpet, keys, guitar, bass, front man, and they feature a female drummer/singer who is just phenomenal. Her voice is like butter and the front man provides some sweet harmonizing. They don't overdue any one instrument and have a really nice song mix. Not only fantastic musicians, but they put on a really good show. I like 'em.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A 5-year journal

Daughter Carrie pointed me toward this post that gives questions for each day of the week - as an aid in keeping a 5 year journal. Someday I may have to resort to this, or at least borrow from it. Here is the link to the list of questions for each month of the year. These are the questions for the days of August:


1. What did you have for lunch today?
2. What did you let go of?
3. What is the one thing you want to accomplish tomorrow?
4. What was the last gift you gave?
5. The last time I exercised ____________________.
6. What did you create today?
7. What memories did you think about today?
8. What is the last risk you took?
9. What made you compromise?
10. Who do you look up to?
11. On a scale of 1-10 my day was a __________.
12. What did the last text message you received say?
13. Do you owe anyone money?
14. What is your own favorite physical feature?
15. What was the worst thing you ate today?
16. I hope no one was looking when I _______________.
17. How many miles did you drive/ride today?
18. Who was the first person you saw today?
19. What’s your biggest phobia?
20. What was your first full thought this morning?
21. How full is your fridge?
22. What was the last healthy thing you did for yourself?
23. What did you have to wait for today?
24. What did you win?
25. Who had the biggest influence on your day?
26. What can you learn from today?
27. What was the highest point of your day today?
28. Did you pay it forward?
29. What would you like to learn more about?
30. What new TV show do you refuse to watch?
31. How much is a gallon of milk?

Friday, August 15, 2014

I don't want a pickle - and dr john's accident

Our friend Dr. John had a motorcycle accident last Saturday. Not exactly sure what happened, but I think he missed a curve and rolled with the bike down an embankment. He was near Fremont (or somewhere), and I guess he lay in the ditch bleeding for about a half hour before anyone found him. He broke his leg/ankle, quite a few ribs, the c-1 vertabrae in his neck, and scratched up his face pretty bad. None of us even knew it happened until like Tuesday(?). Mike and I went and visited him in the hospital that night, and I've stopped up to deliver him an ice cold Coca-Cola in the mornings on my way to work (I work just a mile from the hospital he's in). He hopes to be out of the hospital maybe next Friday.

Anyway, he has two motorcycles. I've wanted to buy his Kawasaki for awhile. It fits me just right, and is just about what I'm looking for. Well, it just so happens that he wrecked his Harley. He now says he is selling both bikes. So, while I hate the circumstances, I think I may actually get a motorcycle one of these days. I can't remember the specifics of it, but I like everything about it - other than the color (red). It would be great to ride to work and back, and take m'Lady out on evening rides around the countryside.

I've also always liked the Arlo Guthrie tune: "I don't want a pickle... just want to ride on my motor.. cy.. cle."

We'll see... I thought I was going to get to buy it once before. I'd be okay if he changed his mind. But if he doesn't... :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mowing

I mowed the lawn last night. I'd been looking at the tall grass for days, and finally figured I better do something about it. The last time I mowed was August 4th. It was pretty high again - especially in the back - so once again I mowed on the highest setting. I still like it like that. Nothing much else to report. I did work up a rare sweat though.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The wellness center

Dr. Tim and his lovely wife are in a video for the new non-profit they have established back in our old stomping grounds (he is our nephew). It's called Cornerstone Community Wellness. You can hear all about it in the 7 minute video. It sounds like they must have made this for their church. Pretty neat stuff. Very proud of them. And... interestingly enough, I think Jane recommended the book Radical to her brother Mark, who then recommended it to his son Tim. I believe Jane may have also recommended Not A Fan to Tim. Here's the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scUm3xxu8K8


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin williams, mark driscoll, and me

There's been a lot of news lately - both in the church and in the world at large. Much of the 'church' hub-bub dealt with Mark Driscoll and his latest exploits and the resulting... whatever it is that happened to him. I think Acts 29 asked him to step down, or something or other. I'm not really even sure.

I have never been a "fan" of Mark's, but nor was I a serious detractor either. We both entered ministry around the same time. There were many things of his that I'd read and heard that were quite profound and helpful. He also spoke of many, many things I disagreed with. Even though we didn't line up theologically, and in many ways, socially, I still had a fair amount of respect for who he was and what he did. Sure, he often seemed brash and arrogant - and maybe he was - but that is also part of what made him who he was. So when I see people tearing him down - especially people who don't know him at all or know specifics of the situation - I tend to pull back a bit. Now that there is talk that he may lose his ministry... I feel for him. I still don't agree with him on a lot of things, but I don't see him as an enemy.

It's kind of the same with Robin Williams tragic death yesterday. I was never a big fan of his, but it's not that I didn't like him either. However, I know there are people who will think we're making much ado about some celebrity, or they'll denounce him for running from his responsibilities or problems by taking the "cowards" way out. And everyone has the right to their own opinion. But I think he represents a lot of other folks too. And, at his core, he was very much a human being just like the rest of us. It's easy to judge someone when you don't suffer in the same way they do. It's okay to not understand. But we are all human beings here. I could always sense there was a terrible struggle going on inside Robin just from looking at him. It's the same with Mark.

You know, we all have our "thing." That little glitch in our system that makes us human. We are all uniquely made, but also made from the same core. Some of us are wired like others, and some of us are wired like someone else. For me, personally, I think I am wired similar to these two guys. So I have a soft spot for them. I grieve with them. In a very small and distant way, I can relate a little bit to what they were/are going through.

A friend shared something on Facebook this morning (in regard to RW) that made a lot of sense to me. I think I'll just share it, and leave it at that. "Funny" is in the eye of the beholder. This is from Matt Conner:

 The funniest among us often stand along the outside. I am not referring to comedians who settle for the easy joke intended for the lowest common denominator. Rather, the women and men who make us laugh despite the unsettling things they are saying, who move us with their keen insights -- insights that come precisely *because* they stand on the outside.

Culture needs such critics. In Biblical times, you had those labeled as "prophets", people who were largely outsiders offering a necessary critique of the culture. I've long believed that many of our finest comedians were just that -- prophetic types who tell us the truth about ourselves and our world. Robin Williams was certainly one such person.

Such wisdom and insight is a gift, and Williams was among the most talented. Even in his serious roles, he offered uncomfortable looks at our deepest longings to connect and belong. But I cannot help but feel that there's a price to be paid for standing on the outside. To be outside is to be alone. To be the truth-teller is to be the one saying what some of us (most of us) do not want to hear. Packaging it in ways that are funny make it palatable, but they're painful truths just the same.

Williams' documented history with depression and rehab and such is out there, and there's likely more information to come in the weeks ahead. Such a reality might be hard to stomach, but it reminds us of the price paid by those willing to be honest with us. Whatever comes out about Williams' death, I'm grateful for the laughs and insights he shared, and for those who continue to carry such a torch today, revealing truth to us in ways that are both humorous and poignant.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Prime music

I had kind of forgotten about the notice I received awhile back that Amazon Prime now had music. A friend mentioned it the other day, so I decided to check it out today. There was quite a variety of free music, but nothing that I really WANTED to hear. So I decided on a Billy Joel album. It might have been a 'greatest hits' or something or other. I listened to it this afternoon at work. I never owned one of his albums, but it was a nice rainy afternoon to listen to his music. I'll have to remember that I have access to this on my Kindle Fire.